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Outdated mores or harmless entertainment? We talk to parents about princess movies

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Photo by KeithJ via Flickr Creative Commons

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While promoting “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” Keira Knightley told Ellen DeGeneres that she bans her 3 year-old-daughter from watching certain princess movies – namely, “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid,” both of which she sees as sending dangerous messages to young girls.

As live-action remakes of princess movies keep coming, there’s continued conversation as to whether fairy tale movies, especially the 2D Disney fare of the 80s and 90s, is acceptable content for the modern child. Some parents are switching out the mermaid princess who, as Keira Knightley puts it, gives up her voice for a man, for what they feel are more empowering narratives like “Moana” and “Frozen.”

But in her recent article for Quillette, Amy Alkon steps in to defend the fairy-tale move, saying there are still valuable lessons to be learned – and if they’re not all savory, then at least they can start a conversation.

If you’re a parent, how do you treat princess movies in your household? Are there certain films that you feel area too problematic to allow?


Amy Alkon, writer whose recent piece in Quillette is “Don’t Deny Girls the Evolutionary Wisdom of Fairy-Tales;” she is author of many books, including her latest, “Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence” (St Martin’s Griffin, 2018)